If you’re planning on a landscape project, one of the most important decisions you’ll make is whether to hire a landscape architect, designer or contractor. They level of knowledge and expertise may be the same, but they usually focus on different areas of landscaping.
Indeed, it can be difficult to differentiate the tasks of these three distinct landscape professionals. The help clear the lines, many design-build companies have in-house architects and designers who take care of everything, from designing to installing to maintaining landscape projects; other architects and designers, on the other hand, each have their own contractors the work with. Sometimes, you can just work with a landscape designer or architect to create a plan for your project, after which you will be referred to a trusted contractor. If you work with landscape contractors, all design work is considered part of the deal.
So the question is, how do you decide whether to hire a landscape architect, designer or contractor? This will mainly boil down to four factors: the size of your project, your timeline, the job’s overall complexity, and, of course, your budget. But believe it or not, there’s a fifth factor, which is generally considered the ultimate litmus test: personality fit.
You’ll want the landscape pro to listen to your ideas and goals, and work around your schedule. They should take their time checking out your property and asking you important questions, like what overall ambiance you want or whether there are specific design elements you’d like to include (for instance, wicker outdoor furniture). Of course, if they think that what you want isn’t very wise or possible at all, they will give you their professional opinion.
As always, when you’re looking for any type of service professional, the best route to a good one is a persona referral. So ask relatives, friends or coworkers if they’ve worked with a good one recently. Another thing you can do is explore online directories that various industry associations maintain for public use. Ask them whether they have licenses, certifications and professional affiliations; if they say yes, have them show proof. All proposals must be given to you in writing, and make sure all the terms and conditions, including the fees, are clear to you.
Even if you intend to do this project on your own, you should still seek the guidance of experts. After all, they’re not called that for nothing. And of course, you’re probably going to make a sizable expense, so you’d like to get it right the first time.